Monday, October 30, 2006

Simply knitting

So as I have been saying, I am more than a little overwhelmed in my life right now. When I was sure I was about to hit my breaking point any minute, I saw a piece of my sanity lying in a basket near my couch. I think that is just the reason my house is cluttered the way it is with yarn, needles, a quilt rack, weaving and books. Just in case I have a second to actually pause, my sanity will be there waiting for me, somewhere amidst the fiber and literary clutter. I actually paused and started looking at my yarn. There were two very sweet skeins that were birthday gifts this year, that I was very fond of. The color and texture were inviting to relax and create. I chose to work with them and then starting fussing through my books to find just the right pattern. As I only had two skeins, there wasn't a whole lot I could do, but I was sure I could make something nice. I started flipping through the two books that I have that are particularly devoted to one skein and oddball knitting. After looking at some of the lovely and some of the quite impractical patterns in them, I finally decided that what I really wanted to do was just knit. Simple as that, I just wanted to knit. Oh, maybe throw in a purl now and then, but nothing fancy. I only wanted to feel the needles and yarn in my hands and find my groove. And that is just what I did. So here you have it folks. Nothing lovely, nothing fancy, nothing to write home about, just a simple scarf of variegated wool blend yarn that stripes all on it's own. I don't have to think about it. The yarn expects nothing of me, it makes no demands, and yet grants me moments of bliss. Just allowing me to find my rhythm and create something that will be quite useful to me as the fall drifts into winter.

Friday, October 27, 2006


My dear friends from Tsfat Reb Moshe and his beloved wife Rochel need your prayers for thier 18 month old son. I just read this on his blog Please take a moment to say tehillim.

Thank you so much!

Tizku l'mitzvot




And it's not even 7 AM!

I am not sure what has happened, but my morning has been a bit interesting. I have to tell you that the only thing on my mind this AM was to make challah. Simple enough right? I just wanted to make challah this week. With school and everything and everyone else that is going on in my life I cannot tell you the last time I made challah. It has been weeks. I HATE buying challah. Sure, we have stores and bakeries where you can buy challah and most is inexpensive enough. We even have one bakery where the challah is 'prit near perfect, almost like homemade! But that is not the point. I like to make challah. I am a Farmgirl for Pete's sake! So what's the problem you ask. I have no idea, except something is not right in the cosmos for me right now. I woke up at 3:30 this morning. My brain just went ping!

"OK," I told myself, "take it easy, you can sleep till 4 and then get up."

"Yes, but," I argued back, "the Ben Ish Hai says that even though women should not daven Tikun chatzot (midnight prayers and lament over our Holy Temple) they should arise early and do there household chores in the same merit."

"Please go back to sleep at least 'till 4."



I proceeded to have the same argument and try to sleep till 5. HA! At that point the alarm went off and some radio talk show came on to tell me how you should not invest more that 5-10% of your total stocks in your companies 401K plan (i.e. Enron). "Great" I thought sleepily, "stocks....vegetable of beef????"

My brain switched on so abruptly today that I could not remember if I had even said Modeh Ani?

The rest of the morning proceeded well. I said my morning prayers and put my apron on. I started the yeast and put my milk up on the stove getting it ready for my coffee. As I am pouring my scalded milk into my cup, my beloved and I start talking about this week's parsha.

"Did you know the tievah had three floors?" I ask.

My beloved replied that yes he did and as we were discussing how huge it must have been I decided to pour the scalded milk onto my unprotected hand.


I decide to pour a bit of cold water on it and ignore the pain because there is challah to make and I am going to make that challah!

I lay my coffee aside and check the yeast. It's ready. OK, since I do not have a lot of time I am going to use the mixer that I never, ever use. I pull it out and scratch my head wondering to myself how does this thing work. I stick the dough attachment on, put all my ingredients in the bowl and flip the switch. Viola! Nothing. Nope nothing. Just a clunk, clunk sound as the mixer's blades started to turn. I wake up my daughter and ask her what the deal is (after all, she actually uses the monster). She informs me that the dough blades do not work and I would have to use the other ones. OK, fine. I switch blades and try again. This time I notice my dough is sticking big time. I try working with it but then I smell smoke. Yep, you got it. The mixer started to burn up. :::sigh::: Personally, I think it hates me because I never use it, preferring my hand crank version dough mixer (thank you again Susan).

I take my poor abused challah dough stick in a bowl and proceed to knead it myself. I mutter "What is going on here HaShem?" trying to think loving and holy thoughts as I make this challah. I turn super spiritual on myself and ask questions like "why do you want to make the challah? Is it really to fulfill the mitzvah or do you have some other motivation?" Thinking back to myself I remember again how I really do love making challah for shabbat. It is such a holy thing and one of the few mitzvot that are specifically obligated to women. I can get incredibly introspective y'know. It feels so good when I can give this small gift to my family. I want to mix in so much love and prayer along with all the other ingredients.

My beloved arrived back from minyan. He asked how the challah went and I told him I am writing about it now. He laughed and said "Oh really?" I told him I think I broke the mixer that it is burnt out. He congratulated me with a "Good job!" and proceeded to check the victim for vital signs. Nope, nothing. The funeral will be at 9 AM today. That's when the garbage men come by. Unceremonious I know, but like I said, I think the mixer hated me anyway. Besides I still have my hand crank...of course my daughter my be a little saddened by it's untimely demise.

Shabbat shalom Y'all!

Only 10 more hours to go!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Child led nursing according to the Rabbis

I received this today and am again amazed at the wisdom of our Sages. Here is the halacha on nursing. It is very child led.

Description: Is It Permissible For A Nursing Mother To Resume Nursing Her Baby After A Few Days Interruption

The Rabbis afforded great importance to nursing a newborn baby, which, as has been proven by modern medicine, yields numerous health benefits. For example, during the first several days after birth nursing provides the infant with colostrum, which has been shown to help protect children from various allergies and diseases. Mother's milk itself has likewise been determined to provide a child with important health benefits. Therefore, a woman who is able to nurse a child should not forego on this opportunity, even if bottle-feeding is more convenient.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Dei'a 81:7) presents the guidelines as to when it is no longer permissible to nurse a child. He writes that a healthy child may nurse until the end of his fourth year, and a sickly child is permitted to nurse from his mother until after he completes his fifth year of life. After this point, it becomes forbidden for him to nurse just as it is forbidden for older children and adults to nurse directly from a woman. The Shulchan Aruch adds that after twenty-four months have passed since birth, if the child stops nursing for a period of seventy-two hours, the mother may not resume nursing the child, unless some health risk is involved. Chacham Ovadia Yosef rules accordingly, in his work Halichot Olam (vol. 6, p. 229).

Therefore, a mother who still nurses her child after the first two years must bear in mind that if she leaves on a trip and will thus be unable to nurse the child for seventy-two hours, it will be forbidden for her to resume nursing upon her return.

Summary: Halacha encourages mothers to nurse their babies given the health benefits involved. A healthy child may nurse from the mother until after his fourth year, and a sick child, until after five years. After two years, however, a child who stops nursing for seventy-two hours may not resume nursing unless a health risk is involved.

It is so interesting to note that if the mother does not nurse for seventy two hours she may not start up again after the child is twenty four months. This is a relatively average weaning time and many babies do wean themselves at this age. Although my youngest weaned herself younger, I know many babies who hold on for the whole four years. The point is that if baby and mommy are willing there is no reason why they cannot continue nursing past two years. This is a most beautiful and encouraging halacha that I can share with many of the mommies I come in contact with. The longer the better; truth be told though I would be thrilled if all mommies nursed thier babies for even a few days. In this case something is better than nothing. Other than the obvious health benefits there are many, many more deep emotional benefits to both mother and child.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Just for fun...What planet are you from?

OK, I tried another one of these quizzy things. Pretty accurate.'s just for fun ;-)

You Are From Neptune

You are dreamy and mystical, with a natural psychic ability.
You love music, poetry, dance, and (most of all) the open sea.
Your soul is filled with possibilities, and your heart overflows with compassion.
You can be in a room full of friendly people and feel all alone.
If you don't get carried away with one idea, your spiritual nature will see you through anything.

Friday, October 20, 2006

On the edge of the unknown

Emotions run rampant sometimes and I feel them so deeply I think I may drown. No matter how hard I try to remain 'detached' I still feel the deep pain of uncertainty. But this is the sacrifice of love. The command to love another human being is a deep sacrifice and one that I do not think you can detach yourself from. What do I do? Hashem has given me a neshama to love, one that I did not birth, but I seem to need to treat as if I did. Nurturing does come easy to me, I am a professional Mommy after all. I was so blessed when the little one's baby-sitter told me the other day how he is saying his prayers, he says Shema, he says AMEN! I cried with all the emotions that joy afforded me. Baruch Hashem, something has been planted in the garden of his neshama and it is taking root and it is beginning to grow. But oh, such a fragile plant, so delicate that I fear a storm or neglect would stunt it's growth. But what can I do? Hashem's ultimate will, will be done. I am trying to practice letting go. Do I have a choice? Did I ever? I simply did what Hashem put before me to do. I may cry and have pain but I do know I tried to please my Father in the task that he laid before me. Let go and let G-d. That is what they say. What the next days, weeks, etc., hold I know not. I do not know how much longer I will have this 'job.' I feel the end coming and it is hard letting go. Not a wrenching feeling but one that requires huge emunah on my part. I must trust that Hashem will care for the neshama and do what is best for him. Silly isn't it? Aren't I implying that onlyI can care for him best? Only Hashem knows what is best. Whatever Hashem does is for my good, for the good of the little one, for the good of his mother. Hashem is good and does good, no matter how painful or confusing it is, it is for the best. When he came to us I felt the room spin, I truly thought I was going to faint, it happened all so suddenly. Now that the end seems to be coming...well, I just don't know. Isn't that the way it always is? We just don't know. All we can do is trust. I know Abba loves me, loves my amazing, self sacrificing and supportive family. They too have given thier all and have loved deeply. Hashem loves this neshama and his Mama. Ultimately all will be well. This is I believe, I know. No matter what I will trust Hashem. I will continue to do the best I can at whatever task He lays before me next and come what may, joy or pain, I will love Him because I know He loves me, His child.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Post Holiday Hangover

OK, before you all start thinking ill of me, I am not writing of an alcohol induced hangover. I am simply describing the exhaustion and fog I am feeling right now after all the excitement of the chaggim. I have been moving on fast forward for what feels like so long now that to actually try to get back into the day to day is a bit surreal. Talk about slamming on the breaks and changing directions! Don't misunderstand, I welcome the mundane with open arms right now. After coming from the spiritual intensity of these particular holidays, I need the routine to try to incorporate what I have learned. I just have to try and slow down now to enjoy the scenery.
Today is a rainy gray day that is adding to my blahs exponetially. :::wink to OTR:::
In Israel this is a blessing, I am not so sure the same applies here in chutz l'aretz. (Of course rain is a blessing, obviously we need it...but here, well here in Philadelphia it just feels like 'blah'. Are you loving the vocab here?)
Last night one of our local synagogues had a hachnasat sefer torah, (welcoming of a new torah scroll). That was an especially good feeling after all the joy of simchat torah. This did help some with my post holiday blues.
Ah well, like the song goes...back to life, back to reality.
On the bright side of things, I do have a weaving that has been whispering to me for days to work on...and there is all that yarn...oh yes, and the fabric:::sigh, I feel better already!:::

Monday, October 16, 2006

Step One...Powerless over Fiber

1. We admitted we were powerless over fiber---that our stash had become unmanageable.

"Hi, I am Philly and I am a fiber addict."

Truth be told the ONLY thing that prevents me from going totally haywire at the nearest wool store is finances and lack there of. (see, I must not be THAT bad, I am not willing to stop eating to get my next yarn fix ;-) But oy, am I getting the itch right now. My nesting urges have begun full force and so all I want to do at this point in my life is feel wool, spin, knit, sew a few things, make a quilt, and drink tea, in that order. (Yes, I DO have a family but they are all big enough to make their own box of Wacky-Mac) In my fantasy world I would be sitting in my log cabin somewhere hidden in the hills of Israel :::OK, remember I was raised here in the US of A, I like log cabins::: with my wonderful flock of merinos wandering about, and spinning my heart out right now. :::SIGH:::

My wonderfully patient friend and fellow addict BJ :::she is MUCH worse than me::: sent me this from Yarn Harlot. Check this blog out and see if you too can relate. I'll be here waiting for you in the room overflowing with roving. We can start our own 12 Step Program...of course it won't really do us any good as it will be just another excuse to sit and knit during the meeting.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

And now for the last word on healthy eating:::smile:::

For All We Weight and Health Conscious People!

As we now know, Dr.Atkins was 258 lbs. at the time of his death, an Obese
weight for a man 6'

For those of you who watch what you eat... Here's the final word on
nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those
conflicting medical studies:

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than
the Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks
than the Americans

4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer
heart attacks than the Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and
suffer fewer heart attacks than the Americans.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently whats killing you.

Note: Thanks to Over the Rainbow for passing this along to me and making me smile! That was a BIG mitzvah girl!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Let's go Home

Traveling Through Torah

Try to go through all our holy books in the course of your lifetime, so that you will have visited every place in the Torah. Wealthy people constantly travel from place to place, spending enormous sums in order to be able to boast about where they have been. In the same way, in this life you should visit all the holy places in the Torah. Then in your future life you will be able to take pride in having visited every place in our holy literature. For in the world to come you will remember everything you have ever learned.

Rabbi Nachman, Sichot Haran #28

I found this over at the Azamra website. Check out this exciting new learning opportunity they are offering! It is called Know Your Bible Take part in AZAMRA's Internet Bible-in-a-Year Study Cycle and get acquainted with the world's greatest Book of eternal wisdom – for an investment that could be no more than 10-15 minutes a day.

Officer Claims Religious Discrimination By University

TOWSON, Md. - It's the holiest time of year for Jews -- the week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. For one Orthodox Jew, the timing couldn't be worse. He is a Towson University police officer and he is suspended from his job. WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team reporter Barry Simms said the officer calls it a case of religious discrimination.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I suppose there will be many, many firsts in my journey through and in Judaism. I know as each year goes by my realization of the significance of everything becomes deeper and with more understanding. I have wondered at times why we do the things we do and then after doing them the light bulb goes off. Kapparot has been one of these occasions. My husband and I walked to our synagogue today under the darkness of a predawn sky. There I stood with him, waiting in the rain to get my hen. As their clucks rose sporadically, I felt such a tenderness and sadness for these precious birds. When I received her, I caressed my dear hen who was not in any way an atonement for my sins but a clear reminder of what could happen to me, of what I could be deserving of. The rain falling on us seemed all too appropriate as I said my prayer, "This is my exchange...I shall proceed to a good, long life and peace." As I walked away the sobs came. It was all so very clear to me now, how merciful Our Creator is. He reminds me of who I am, good and bad. He calls me to Himself and loves me so deeply. On this Erev Yom Kippur I pray I come to deep and real teshuvah. I pray that the Holy One of Israel finds me and all of His beloved children favorable. That He gives us all a decree of goodness, long life and shalom, with the coming of His Moshiach and the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) speedily in our day. Amen v'amen
Wishing all a Gmar Chatima Tovah!